Soup and Chili Recipes

Italian Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup

Italian Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup


(New Years day, 2013)  While watching his beloved Stanford Cardinal lose in the Rose Bowl, our friend declares, “this is the best soup I’ve ever had.”

(I can’t remember the specific below zero windchill day in the month of February, 2014)  My fiance came in from the cold to find this soup cooking. He consumed it. He smiled, then he DIDN’T complain about the weather.

(Two weeks ago) I was tense. I made this soup. I ate it. I relaxed.

This soup has powers. Powers that can change your state of mind. Make you forget about your team losing a big game. Make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, even on the worst of days. Make you involuntarily exhale an audible “Mmmmm” after your first spoonful. Make you relax away the days tension in your shoulders and jaw. Make you smile.

Doesn’t take long to make. Doesn’t take long for the robust aroma to permeate your kitchen. Doesn’t take long to realize … This soup is powerfully, comfortably, so very … good.

Italian Sausage, White Bean and Kale SoupItalian Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup



  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cleaned, ribs removed and diced
  • 1 28oz can chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 2 15oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 boxes fat free chicken broth (8 cups)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 sprig rosemary, left whole (I have a rosemary plant on my windowsill.  Rosemary can easily left out if you do not have it readily available)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 lb dried pasta (I used medium shells)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, plus more for garnish, chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Additional chicken broth, if needed


Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the Italian sausage and cook for 6-8 minutes until no longer pink while breaking up the sausage into bite sized pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Add onions, celery, carrots and red bell pepper, and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant.

Add tomatoes, beans, chicken broth, oregano, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  (Note: Cook the soup at this stage for as long as you can. Sometimes I let the soup simmer away for several hours.)  During the last 10 minutes of cook time, add kale and cook for 10 minutes. Remove rosemary stem and adjust seasoning for salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup fresh parsley.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve.

Add the cooked pasta to the soup pot, simmer for a few minutes, and ladle into bowls. Top with Parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley.

Note: If you plan to have leftover soup to eat later in the week, do not add the noodles to the soup pot. Instead, add 1/2 cup cooked pasta to individual bowls and ladle pipping hot soup on top. (When noodles are added straight to the pot, they will adsorb the broth and leftovers wouldn’t be much of a “soup” anymore.)

Salads, Vegetarian Recipes

Fall Quinoa and Kale Salad

Quinoa and Kale Fall Salad


Take a look at this salad.  Tell me that doesn’t look beautiful and delicious.  But don’t actually tell me that, or type me that, or whatever … because you know it’s not true.  You know this baby looks fantastic.  What you may not know is the little trick I used to make it taste even better.  Here it is.

I massaged my greens.  No kidding. I  showed my kale some love and it reciprocated with taste.

Quinoa and Kale Fall SaladQuinoa and Kale Fall SaladQuinoa and Kale Fall SaladQuinoa and Kale Fall Salad


Kale makes a delicious and healthy salad green, but it can also be tough and bitter.  By massaging the fibrous leaves, you bring out their sweetness and transform them into something tender and easier to digest.  Just chop up the kale, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, and use your fingers to rub the oil into the leaves.  After a minute or two, the leaves will begin to wilt and shrink.  Trust me, you will notice the difference.

This kale is tossed with quinoa, roasted butternut squash, rosemary and garlic toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and creamy goat cheese.  Finally, it’s finished with a tangy apple cider vinaigrette.  Perfect balance.  I love the varying autumn colors, flavors, and textures.  Serve as a meatless main for a few, or as a side dish for a group.  Beautiful, seasonal, and delicious.

Quinoa and Kale Fall SaladQuinoa and Kale Fall SaladQuinoa and Kale Fall Salad



  • 1 medium butternut squash, cut into cubes (5-6 cups)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large bunch lacinato kale, about 1 lb
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove, skin removed and left whole
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 oz goat cheese
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Apple cider vinaigrette:
    • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2/3 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
    • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 1 shallot, finely diced
    • 1 garlic clove, minced


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss chopped butternut squash cubes with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, tossing half way through.
  2. Thoroughly rinse quinoa under running water.  In a small pan, bring 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of water to a boil over high heat.  Once liquid is boiling, add quinoa, stir well, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.  Remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit with the lid on for 5 minutes.  Fluff quinoa with a fork and cool to room temperature.  Alternatively, follow cooking directions on package.
  3. While the  butternut squash and quinoa cook, prepare the walnuts.  In a saute pan over medium-low heat add 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil.  Add garlic, rosemary, walnuts, salt and pepper.  Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often, until walnuts are toasted and golden.  (Keep a close eye on these, they will burn easily.) Remove garlic and rosemary, and chop toasted walnuts –Look at you, you just made rosemary and garlic toasted walnuts! —  (Note: Do not throw out the garlic clove that just roasted with the walnuts, here is an Emily tip – slather that goodness on a piece of toasted bread.  What chef doesn’t love a little snack mid cooking session.)
  4. Wash, remove stems, and finely shop kale.  Put kale in serving bowl, add 2 tsp of olive oil and massage with your hands for 2 minutes.  This will help to wilt the kale.
  5. Next, prepare the salad dressing.  Combine apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, Dijon mustard, honey, shallot, and garlic in a mason jar.  Secure lid and give it a good shake.  Alternatively, whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.
  6. Salad assembly time – Add the cooled quinoa to the kale and toss with half of the vinaigrette.  Top with butternut squash, walnuts, cranberries, and goat cheese.  Toss again and add additional salad dressing if needed.   Note: I only used half of the vinaigrette and saved the rest to dress a salad later in the week.

Servings: 4-6 as a side dish (2-3 as a main dish)

Quinoa and Kale Fall Salad

Salads, Side Dish Recipes

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon, Almonds, and Pecorino

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon, Almonds, and Pecorino


I’ve eaten this salad three days in a row.  Here’s why.

Unique texture, delicious taste, and high levels of vitamins and nutrients.  You know I love versatility in dish, especially in a salad.

I am, indeed, a salad girl.  It’s easy to be when cheese and bacon are involved, right?   Well, it’s just as easy to categorize yourself  a salad “person” when kale and Brussels sprouts are involved.  Not only do both these veggies taste great, but they’re good for you and they stand up to many added toppings, ingredients, and variations (seeing a theme here?).  Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium.  Brussels sprouts contain high levels of vitamin C and vitamin K.

This salad works well as a main dish for 2, serves 4-6 as a side, or can easily be doubled to serve a crowd.  I may be eating it again tomorrow!

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon, Almonds, and PecorinoKale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon, Almonds, and PecorinoKale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon, Almonds, and PecorinoKale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon, Almonds, and Pecorino



  • 2 tbsp minced shallot
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large bunch (approx 3 cups) Lacinato kale, finely shredded
  • 1 lb (approx 4 cups) Brussels sprouts, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled into bite sized pieces


  1. First, make the dressing by combining minced shallot, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, olive oil, salt and a freshly cracked black pepper.  I like to place the ingredients in a mason jar, secure the lid, and shake.  Reserve dressing.
  2. In a large bowl, combine shredded kale and Brussels sprouts.  Note: I shred my veg in a food processor, but you could also finely chop by hand.
  3. Toss the kale and Brussles sprouts with the reserved dressing.  Use only as much dressing as you need to coat the kale and Brussles sprouts.  Note: I used about 3/4 of the dressing.
  4. Add almonds, Pecorino Romano cheese, and crumbled bacon.  Toss again, adjust seasoning to taste, adding more dressing if needed.

Servings: 2 as a main, 4-6 as a side

Salads, Vegetarian Recipes

Corn and Kale Salad with Basil Lime Vinaigrette

kale and corn salad


To me, fresh corn equals the arrival of summer.  I have been known to eat multiple ears of warm buttered corn on the cob, and then call it dinner.  I think I get it from my Dad.  I remember growing up watching him sit at the kitchen table with a plate full of corn on the cob and an ear to ear smile on his face.  Who needs the rest of the meal when corn on the cob is involved, right Dad?

That being said, corn is also delicious when cut off the cob and added to salads, casseroles, and even desserts.  In this recipe, I toss chunks of corn cut from the cob with kale, peppers, shallots, tomatoes, parsley, feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, and a homemade vinaigrette.  With a bit of simple prep work done up front, this comes together quickly.

carn salad prep


The bright green kale visually contrasts with the yellow corn and red tomatoes.  This makes for a beautiful presentation.  Kale and corn salad with basil lime vinaigrette is my new favorite salad!  I plan on making sure fresh corn on the cob is in my kitchen. Thus, I plan on making this again and again.

I hope you make this salad soon. Your taste buds will thank you.


  • 5 ears sweet corn, husked
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 1 pound), center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5 campari tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup fresh packed basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (juice from 1 lime)
  • 2 tsp lime zest (zest from 1 lime)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Make basil lime vinaigrette by combining basil leaves, lime juice, lime zest and garlic in a food processor.  Pulse 2-3 times until coarsely chopped.  With the machine running, add olive oil in a slow steady stream, and process until emulsified.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add salt and pepper, and process to combine.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add corn to boiling water, reduce heat, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove corn and set aside to cool.  Cut corn off the cobs and reserve.

Add kale to a serving bowl and toss with the vinaigrette.  Add corn, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, shallot, tomatoes, and parsley.  Toss to combine.  Add feta cheese and pine nuts.  Serve and enjoy.